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Software Development

The bodyshopping connundrum

date: 2 April 2012
reading time: 2 min

One of the less positive impacts of the economic downturn on the software outsourcing industry seems to be a rise in demand for bodyshopping. In house IT teams seem to have shrunk over the past three years and now when they need to complete a larger project at short notice many choose simply to bring in contractors - often from abroad.

One of the less positive impacts of the economic downturn on the software outsourcing industry seems to be a rise in demand for bodyshopping. In house IT teams seem to have shrunk over the past three years and now when they need to complete a larger project at short notice many choose simply to bring in contractors – often from abroad. They are using outsourcing to try to create an instant team at lower cost. This demand for engineers might seem like a good thing for the offshore software development industry and you may be wondering why I am deeming it a ‘less positive impact’. Most of my concerns are for the ‘bodies being shopped’ – the developers themselves. Without any control over the work they do, it can become demotivating and often they feel devalued. Perhaps their skills are not being used to the full. The end result is that perhaps in these situations developers can produce sloppy software and ultimately this impacts upon the company doing the bodyshopping.

As technical debt rises, so does the time required to fix bugs or to understand the code architecture in order to add new features. And of course, time is money. I know that there are severe headcount and financial restrictions facing many IT departments at present, but I would still urge them to look at ways other than ‘bodyshopping’ to complete the work they need to do.

What do you think?

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